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Residential Life


As a residential college, Hamilton requires all students to live in College housing and participate in the College board plan while enrolled.
Individuals must be enrolled as full-time students to live in College housing. Students with special circumstances must request to be exempt from this policy. Such requests should be submitted to the associate dean of students for student engagement at least three weeks prior to the beginning of each semester.
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Residence Hall Housing Agreement

All students living in College-owned housing are expected to review and abide by the Hamilton College Housing Agreement. This agreement lists important dates during the academic year, meal plan options and information about billing for damage to College property, key replacement and return, room changes, and liability for College and personal property. This agreement is binding for the academic year. Any student found responsible for a violation of this policy will be subject to relevant judicial sanctions.

Responsibility for Personal Property

The College is not responsible for personal property lost, stolen or damaged. This includes property damaged in flood, fire or other event in the residence halls. It is advisable to protect belongings with insurance through a homeowner's or renter's insurance policy. Doors and windows should be kept locked to prevent theft. In the case of theft or suspected theft, Campus Safety should be notified immediately.

Access to Student Rooms by College Officials

The College reserves the right to enter student rooms to perform routine maintenance, to inspect for fire, health or safety hazards, to investigate misuse or misappropriation of College or other property, and in the event of a missing student or for that student's health and welfare.

Check-in/Check-out Procedures

At the beginning of each year, a copy of the room inventory will be placed on the back of each room door. All students are responsible for checking this room inventory form when moving in and notifying their RA of any disputes with the room inventory or changes to the room condition within three days upon moving into the room. Any damaged or missing items from the room will be charged to the individual responsible.

Room Assignments and Residence Hall Access

Hamilton believes in the educational value of sharing a room or suite with other students. A limited number of single rooms are available to upper-class students through the housing selection process.

A residence hall space is assigned to an enrolled, full-time student for the entire academic year. This assignment is not revocable except in the case of a student leaving the College between semesters.

Several residence halls are wheelchair accessible and provisions are made for students with physical disabilities. Students needing specific housing accommodations can submit a formal request for consideration by the Accommodation Committee.

The residence halls officially open for first-year students on the first day of Orientation in the fall. Returning students may move into their rooms as early as two days before the first day of classes for both the fall and spring semesters.

All residence halls remain open during the October, November, and spring breaks. Residence halls close for the winter break. At the end of the fall semester, students must vacate their rooms no later than 24 hours after their last exam. Students returning to the same room for the spring semester can leave their belongings in the room and lock their door while away from campus. At the end of the spring semester, first-year students, sophomores, and juniors must vacate their rooms and move all belongings out no later than 24 hours after their last exam; seniors must vacate their rooms no later than noon on the day following Commencement.

The exterior doors of each residence hall are equipped with proximity sensors. Students have 24-hour access to their residence hall during the academic year using their Hill Card. Students may access other residence halls using their Hill Card between the hours of 8am and 11pm Sunday through Thursday and 8am through 1am Friday and Saturday. Students are welcome to visit any residence hall after hours but must be let in by a resident of that building.

Room Changes

Any requests for a room change must begin with a discussion with the resident advisor and/or area director. The Office of Residential Life must approve all room changes before the change takes place. When a roommate/suitemate conflict happens, residents should work with their RA to find a solution to the problem or an agreement to resolve the conflict. Professional staff in Residential Life are also available to facilitate mediations. There is a two-week period at the start of each semester when room changes are not permitted. This is intended to allow time for students to adjust to their living environments. Since it is important that the College have accurate information regarding housing assignments, students who make unapproved room changes will be subject to disciplinary action. The consequences for making an unapproved room change may include but are not limited to, the requirement to return to their originally assigned room, sanctions through the judicial process and/or a penalty in the upcoming housing selection.

Room Vacancies

The College reserves the right to fill any vacancies in student rooms when necessary. Whenever possible, the Residential Life Office will make an effort to consult with current residents in making changes in roommate assignments. Residential Life will only place a student who chooses gender neutral housing in a gender neutral vacancy. In keeping with the principles of fairness and guidelines for equitable community living, students are expected to welcome and accept new roommates. If it is determined that a student has been difficult with a new roommate, has sent communication to that person suggesting the other is anything other than welcomed and accepted, or has actively created a hostile environment, the Residential Life Office will take appropriate action that may include judicial consequences and/or reassignment to another residence hall room on campus.


Housing Selection and Special Communities

First Year and Transfer Housing

First-year and transfer students are assigned rooms on the basis of their lifestyle habits. This information is communicated to the Office of Residential Life through a housing questionnaire. First-year students live in doubles, triples, and quads together in specific buildings on campus. Returning students choose their rooms each spring through a housing selection process.

Gender Inclusive Housing

Students are permitted to live with any other student regardless of biological sex, gender identity and/or expression, except on floors designated as single gender. On floors designated as single gender, students must identify as sharing the designated gender of that floor.

Questions about single gender areas are welcomed and can be answered by the Office of Residential Life. Requests for specific arrangements under this policy should be made at least two weeks before the applicable housing selection.

Housing Selection

Returning students select their rooms for the next academic year through participation in the housing selection process at the end of the spring semester. In order to be eligible for the process, students must have registered for classes for the fall semester. The housing selection information is updated in the middle of the spring semester. It contains information and requirements pertaining to the selection process and student eligibility.

Quiet Housing

Students living in quiet housing agree to support an atmosphere that is conducive to sleep and study at all times. The third floor of Skenandoa Residence Hall has been designated as "quiet" for the academic year.

Specialty Housing

Students may take advantage of a number of unique housing options on campus. Specialty housing has been designed to diversify the living/learning options at Hamilton in ways that encourage positive interaction among students within their unique residential communities.

Special Interest Communities

Students living in Special Interest Communities will build their community around a shared interest and will have funding and support for programs related to the topic.

Substance-Free Housing

Students living in substance-free housing agree to follow an alcohol and drug-free lifestyle where alcohol (and, of course, other illegal drugs) are not permitted in the residence hall. 100 College Hill Road, Anderson Road Apartments, Kirkland, McIntosh and the 3rd floor of Minor are designated as substance-free for the academic year.

Wellness Housing

Students living in 100 College Hill Road will have access to special programming to expand their knowledge of holistic wellness. Programs may include cooking demonstrations, outdoor activities, mindfulness and meditation, and other activities planned using feedback and shared interests of the residents within the community.

Woollcott House (Co-Op)

This residence hall allows students to participate in a cooperative meal plan in which they plan, prepare, and serve dinner every evening in the house. In addition, each house member agrees to complete a weekly assignment according to an established work schedule.


Individual Room Information

Cable Television/Satellite Dishes

Students are not permitted to use satellite dishes for their individual rooms, suites or apartments. Many residence hall lounges include a television with basic cable service and all student rooms have access to cable service.

Computer Network Jacks

Each residence hall room is equipped with one multi-purpose jack per student which includes a network, telephone, and cable connection. Students may connect to the high-speed campus network with their individual computer. Tampering with or altering the network is not allowed. Library and Information Technology Services (LITS).

Condition and Cleaning

The condition of student rooms is assessed and an inventory is done by the Residential Life staff prior to the beginning of the fall semester and again when any or all of the assigned occupants move out. Students are responsible for the condition of their assigned rooms and furnishings, and upon vacating their rooms are required to return them to their original condition. Students will be billed the full cost for any college owned furniture not in the room when the student vacates the space. Students are also responsible for cleaning the room and removing all personal belongings. Vacuum cleaners and brooms are available in each residence hall for student use. Students whose rooms do not meet acceptable standards of cleanliness at any point during the academic year will be required to clean immediately. Students will be charged for any additional cleaning and/or removal of personal belongings. The cost of repairing damage to the room will be charged to all of the occupants. Students needing repairs to their rooms should submit a work order request through their resident advisor or Residential Life.

Damages

Costs of damage repair in the residence halls are charged directly to the person(s) responsible. When damage occurs within individual residence halls and the responsible party is unknown, costs are prorated among building/suite residents.

Furniture

Each student is provided with a desk, chair, dresser, bed frame, and mattress in their residence hall room. All College furniture placed in a room is the responsibility of the occupant(s) of that room and must remain in rooms throughout the academic year. Students will be charged the full replacement cost of missing or damaged furniture when they vacate the residence halls. The College reserves the right to prohibit arrangement of furniture that may cause personal injury, a blocking of the path of egress or damage to the furnishings.

Keys and Lockouts

Upon arriving on campus, each student is issued the key to his or her room. For safety and security reasons, residence hall exterior doors are locked 24 hours a day and are only accessible using the Hill Card. Students are expected to lock their doors and carry their key and ID (Hill Card) at all times. The College is not responsible for the theft of personal items from student rooms. Should a student be locked out of their room or the residence hall, assistance is available by calling Campus Safety. Repeated lockouts by a student will result in a $10.00 fine for each lockout.

For security reasons, the loss of a key should be reported immediately to the Office of Residential Life and Campus Safety. The lock of the appropriate room will be changed to protect the safety of the student(s) living there. Students are charged for the cost to change the locks

Paint and Chalk

Students are not allowed to paint or chalk their rooms. Students who paint or chalk their rooms may face disciplinary sanctions and will be charged a minimum of $200.00 (for a single room) or $400.00 (for a double room) for repairs.

Repairs

Students who experience difficulty with a residence hall facility (i.e. sink, radiator, etc.) should notify their resident advisor. If there is an emergency, such as a flood or loss of heat, students should call Campus Safety at 315-859-4141 or 315-859-4000 (emergency). The dispatcher will notify the appropriate personnel for assistance.

Room Personalization

Students may personalize their rooms by attaching posters, hanging pictures, LED lights or other items on the walls and rearranging furniture as they wish. Items must not cover smoke detectors. In order to be in compliance with State Fire Regulations, students may not have flags, tapestries, or plug-in string lights. Drapes or curtains in residence halls are only allowed if they are owned and installed by the College. No more than 25% of each wall can be covered with any material at one time. Any damages to the walls, floors or furnishings will be charged to the individual responsible. Students may bring additional furniture for their room or suite. College or personally owned furniture may not be taken or left outside

Telephones

Each student is provided with free on-campus calling and a voicemail box. Roommates share a telephone number and are expected to bring their own telephones. Students may make off-campus calls by using a calling card. The College offers no long distance service.

Windows and Screens

For health and safety reasons, all screens must remain in windows at all times. Entering a building through a window is strictly prohibited. Any missing or damaged screens will be charged to the individual responsible. If your screen falls out for any reason, please contact your RA or Residential Life.


Meal Plans

Each student must participate in a meal plan while classes are in session. All first-year students must participate in the Unlimited meal plan. Most sophomores will participate in the Unlimited meal plan (depending on where they live). Most junior and senior students will participate in the 14 or Unlimited meal plan (depending on where they live). Anderson Road Apartments, Griffin Road Apartments, Morris House Apartments, Saunders, and apartments in Kirkland, McIntosh, Minor and Milbank (regardless of class) have the option of participating in the 7 meal plan. Woollcott residents must participate in the special meal plan for the Co-Op program. All students (including those given an exception to live off-campus) must participate in the 7 meal plan at a minimum. Students with religious or medical restrictions need to consult with the associate dean of students for student engagement if seeking an exception to the meal plan policy. For more information on meal plans click here.

Meal Plan Appeal Process

Students who wish to appeal their meal plan status based on a medical necessity or religious restrictions must first meet with Reuben Haag, general manager of Bon Appetit, to determine how those needs might be met. In rare cases when Bon Appetit cannot accommodate a medical or religious need, students must send an appeal request to Travis Hill, associate dean of students for student engagement. The appeal must be accompanied by documentation from a treating medical physician or religious leader qualified to assess the necessary restrictions that detail the specifics of the dietary restriction, and why the accommodation requested is medically or religiously necessary. The request will be reviewed by the Accommodation Committee, which will make the final determination on whether the meal plan should be reduced or waived.


Other Residence Hall Policies and Information

Bathrooms

Students living in residence hall areas that are not gender-specific have the opportunity to determine as a community if the bathrooms will be gendered or not. Any student with a concern about community bathroom use should speak with their resident advisor or Residential Life.

Bicycle Storage

Students may only store bicycles in their rooms or they may lock them to the bike racks in their residence halls, where available. For fire safety reasons, bicycles may not be stored in stairwells, hallways, laundry rooms, entranceways, or locked to railings on public walkways.

Dangerous Play

Sports equipment may not be used in the residence halls because of the potential danger to students and property. Use of personal sporting equipment is only permitted on the appropriate field of play.

Deliveries

Mail or parcel deliveries can be picked up at the Campus Mail Center in Beinecke Student Activities Village. Flowers can be picked up at Campus Safety. Food deliveries can be picked up at residence hall exterior doors.

Disabling Locking Mechanisms/Propping Doors

For safety reasons, all residence hall entry doors must be locked and secure at all times.

Game Equipment

There are ping-pong and pool tables in many residence halls. Students may check out equipment for these games from their resident advisor. Any missing or broken equipment will be charged to the individual responsible for the damage.

Guests

Students are responsible for the conduct of their guests while on campus. There are no restrictions on the hours that guests may be entertained in students' rooms, but each student should recognize that this privilege is dependent on acceptance of responsibility to respect the dignity and privacy of roommates and others. No guests may stay longer than three days without permission from the Office of Residential Life. Guests with cars must obtain a temporary parking permit from Campus Safety.

Laundry

All residence halls except 100 College Hill Road are equipped with washers and dryers. There is also a laundry room available in the basement of the Bristol Center. All College washers and dryers are operated through funds on one's Hill Card, with the exception of Bristol's laundry facilities that are both Hill Card and coin operated. In order to deposit money onto a student's Hill Card, one should go to the Hill Card page.

Lounge Furniture

In an effort to make the living environment more comfortable, residence hall lounges and common areas are furnished with couches, chairs, and tables. This furniture is for the use of all residents and may not be used in student rooms or placed outdoors. An inventory of lounge furniture is completed at the end of the fall and spring semesters. Missing furniture is replaced, and replacement costs are charged equally to all the residents of the building.

Noise

It is every student's right to live in a residence hall without being subjected to disturbing noise regardless of the time of day. Excessive noise is an offense against members of the community. Quiet hours in residence halls housing first-year students will be between 11pm and 8am Sunday through Thursday, and from 1am to 8am Friday and Saturday. Students in upper-class residence halls will have the opportunity to vote on residence hall quiet hours at the beginning of the year.

Pets

Cats, dogs, birds or other animals are not allowed in the residence halls without prior authorization through the formal process for Emotional Support Animals. Fish tanks up to 15 gallons are the only exception to this policy.

Recycling

Hamilton College complies with county recycling laws and makes provision for easy compliance in the residence halls. There are designated garbage and recycling collection areas in each living area. Bins are provided for designated items.

Roofs and Ledges

Students are not allowed to use residence hall roofs or ledges for any purpose. This includes sitting or standing on windowsills.

Salespersons and Canvassers

Solicitation is not permitted on the campus or in campus facilities without prior authorization. Authorization does not constitute an endorsement of products or services. All requests to solicit within residential buildings should be directed to the Office of Residential Life.

Storage

Students can access information about local storage options on the Residential Life web page at any time. The College does not endorse or vouch for any specific company.


Prohibited Items

  • Air Conditioners
  • Bars (with or without alcohol)
  • Candles and Incense
  • Christmas Trees – Live Christmas trees present a fire hazard and are not allowed in the residence halls. Artificial, flame-retardant trees are acceptable.
  • Curtains/Drapes – Curtains/drapes are not allowed with the exception of those owned and installed by the College.
  • Dart Boards
  • Halogen Lamps
  • Hammocks and slack lines – Hammocks and/or slack lines are not permitted outside unless they are actively in use. The hammock and/or slack line should never be left unattended and should be removed after each use.
  • Holiday/String Lights (plug-in) – Holiday lights or similar decorative lights that plug into an outlet present a fire hazard and are not permitted in the residence halls at any time. Battery operated LED lights are permitted.
  • Hot Tubs/Pools/water slides – Hot tubs, pools and water slides are not permitted inside or outside the residence halls.
  • Extension cords – including light duty, “zip cords,” heavy duty, etc.
  • Pressure cookers
  • Waterbeds

Residence Hall Fire Prevention

Appliances and Electrical Equipment

Appliances and electrical equipment can overload the electrical capacity of residence halls and cause serious electrical fires, wire damage, and blackouts. The following guidelines should be followed to ensure the safe use of electrical outlets:

  • All electrical items must be Underwriters Laboratory-approved and in good operating condition.
  • The use of small appliances with exposed heating elements is not permitted in residence hall rooms. Students are encouraged to use common residence cooking areas for the preparation of food.
  • Only one appliance per outlet should be used.
  • One small refrigerator and one microwave are allowed per room; they must draw no more than two amps of current and must be plugged directly into a wall socket. Refrigerators and microwaves must be placed in an area where they are properly ventilated (not in closets).
  • Splicing of electrical wires, telephone or computer network wires or removal of any outlet plates or light switch plates is strictly prohibited.
  • Power strips are allowed, provided they contain built-in circuit breakers - The use of multi-plug adapters is not permitted.
Candles and Incense

Sources of an open flame such as incense and candles are not permitted in residence hall rooms at any time.

Christmas Trees

Live Christmas trees present a fire hazard and are not allowed in the residence halls. Artificial, flame-retardant trees are acceptable.

Fire Safety Protection Systems

An automatic fire safety protection system has been installed in each residence hall and an electric smoke detector in each room. These systems are in place for the protection of life and property. Tampering with them (which includes covering them with tapestries or netting), or any other fire safety equipment, including alarms, smoke detectors, heat detectors, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, fire doors or posted fire safety information, may create a severe safety hazard. In addition, the intentional setting of a fire, indoors or outdoors on College property is strictly forbidden. Students found responsible for actions listed above, or who fail to evacuate a building in a timely manner during a fire alarm, will be referred for disciplinary action (and/or civil prosecution) that may result in separation from the College.

Fire Drills

Timed fire drills will be conducted each semester in all the residence halls by Campus Safety, with the assistance of resident advisors and area directors. Since these fire drills will be unannounced, it is important for all students to immediately leave their residence hall whenever a fire alarm sounds. Any student who refuses to follow instructions or evacuate the building during a fire drill will be subject to serious disciplinary action.

Fireplaces

Fireplaces located in residence halls may not be used.

Health and Safety Inspections

Resident advisors conduct health and safety inspections each semester. Students will be notified in advance of the inspections. Once the inspection is completed, students will be asked to correct health and safety violations immediately.

Holiday/String Lights (plug-in)

Holiday lights or similar decorative lights that plug into an outlet present a fire hazard and are not permitted in the residence halls at any time. Battery operated LED lights are permitted.

Smoking and Vaping

Smoking (including tobacco, electronic cigarettes or similar smoking devices) or vaping is not permitted in residence hall rooms, lounges, public spaces or entranceways. Smoking or vaping outside may not occur within 25 feet of any campus building. This applies to all forms of tobacco, electronic cigarettes or similar smoking devices.

Wall Coverage

No more than 25% of each wall can be covered with any material at one time.


Residential Life Staff

Director of Residential Life

The Director is responsible for developing a comprehensive student development based residential program. The Director is also responsible for the administration of student regulations pertaining to the residence halls and the overall management of the residential systems while also serving as a judicial hearing officer.

Assistant Director

The Assistant Director of Residential Life coordinates housing assignments, including room changes, lotteries, summer housing, etc. The Assistant Director also serves as a judicial hearing officer for on-campus incidents.

Area Directors

There are two full-time, professional staff members who live on campus and report to the Director of Residential Life. They are directly responsible for supervising, training and evaluating the resident advisor staff. They also provide direction for resident advisors and other students to develop educational, social, and cultural and community programs in the residence halls. In addition, they carry out administrative functions such as assessing residence hall damages, mediating roommate conflicts, etc.

Resident Advisors

The primary function of the resident advisor (RA) is to promote and maintain a positive residence hall community, which is conducive to academic achievement and personal growth and respectful of the rights of all residents. By serving in the roles of peer counselor, advisor, role model, programmer, administrator and limit setter, the RA facilitates the personal, social and academic development of residents. Under the supervision of an area director, and ultimately the Director of Residential Life, the RA is the primary facilitator of the residence hall community. Resident advisors are important informational resources and can offer students assistance in many areas of their lives, including residence hall concerns, questions about the College and personal problems. They are also responsible for bringing people together in the halls by planning social and educational activities, encouraging interaction among students, and fostering appreciation and respect among members of the campus community.

Residence Hall Leadership Opportunities

Students have the opportunity to become involved in several leadership opportunities in order to provide input into programs and services. Please contact the Office of Residential Life to learn more.


Questions and Resources

Hamilton is a residential campus where teaching and learning in all facets of campus life, both in and out of the classroom, are valued. Much of this learning occurs in the residence halls. When you accept admission to Hamilton College, you agree to live in the residence halls and abide by College policies. Please contact Residential Life at 315-859-4023 or reslife@hamilton.edu with any questions or for clarification of any part of this policy.

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